Reverse Osmosis Water Purification: Pros and Cons

Reverse osmosis water purification is a type of water treatment process that has been used for more than 40 years now. It involves a system where water is forced to move from a solution with higher salt content to one with a weaker level of salinity. At first, this method was used only to take out the salt content in seawater. But as it became more popular, its purifying features have also been made available for households and commercial use. Below are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of using this water treatment method.

The Pros of Using Reverse Osmosis Water Purification


  • By using semi-permeable filters, reverse osmosis can take out particles like rust and other microscopic debris.
  • Reverse osmosis can also filter out minerals like lead, iron, manganese, and salt, which can all be harmful if taken in large quantities.
  • This system can even prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating drinking water.
  • This purifying system can remove chemicals like fluoride and chlorine that may have been added to the main water supply.
  • Compared to water treatment via distillation process, reverse osmosis does not waste that much water.
  • Reverse osmosis does not also use too much energy, unlike other water filtration and distillation systems.
  • The molecular composition of water treated via reverse osmosis makes it very effective against stains when used in washing clothes and other various types of fabrics.
  • Having your own reverse osmosis system at home spares you from spending on commercially available purified water.
  • With your own treatment system, you do not need to stock up on plastic bottles or jugs that can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly.
  • Reverse osmosis water purification is more advantageous for commercial applications.    

The Cons of Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment

  • With reverse osmosis, beneficial alkaline minerals will also be filtered out along with harmful substances, making water highly acidic and bad for your health.
  • Water with less or zero alkaline content has a tendency to neutralize its acidity by absorbing and taking away calcium and other beneficial minerals in the body.
  • Reverse osmosis can leave drinking water tasteless and unappealing.
  • Highly acidic water can corrode metals like the ones used in household appliances and even home plumbing systems.
  • Some experts believe that reverse osmosis is not enough in purifying chemically-treated water distributed through water systems in municipalities and cities.
  • For every 1 gallon of purified water produced, an average of 3 to 8 gallons of water is wasted in reverse osmosis, making it one of the most costly treatment methods available for home use.
  • Reverse osmosis systems can only purify an average of 15 gallons a day, so it is a very slow home water treatment method compared to other filtration systems.
  • Using this system has a lot of hidden costs which includes regular replacement of filtration membranes.
  • Installing or repairing a reverse osmosis system at home can be difficult, requiring homeowners to spend extra on professional installers or plumbers.
  • Reverse osmosis is not practical for home use.